We have reached an agree­ment on a Memorandum of Under­standing (MOU) to address the concerns we all feel as we do our work in the era of COVID-19.

Based on the feedback we heard from you, your Local Unit Officers proposed an MOU with the goals of improving safety and providing much needed relief for members who are strug­gling with reduced hours. While we are disap­pointed that the hospital did not agree to some of our proposals, we believe this MOU will make life a little better at SCH.

We had hoped the hospital would agree to our proposal to place nurses experi­encing reduced hours on paid admin­is­tra­tive leave to protect nurses from finan­cial distress. Unfor­tu­nately, the hospital would not agree to this proposal. Instead, we have agreed to allow nurses to volun­teer to go on standby unemploy­ment and/​or Shared­Work in order to allow people to access the additional unemploy­ment benefits that are currently avail­able. Please see the FAQs about standby unemploy­ment and Shared­Work below.

The MOU also creates the following safety benefits:

*COVID positive RNs – If you are diagnosed with COVID – 19 and it is traced back to a patient, the hospital will provide paid admin­is­tra­tive leave.
*Pre – existing health condi­tions – protec­tions for nurses with pre-existing condi­tions
*Notifi­ca­tion of exposure to a COVID positive patient.
*Testing avail­ability for nurses
*Ability to cash out annual leave
*Access to campus parking at reduced rates

Standby Unemployment/​SharedWork FAQs

What is Standby Unemploy­ment or Shared­Work? These are programs offered through the Washington Employ­ment Security Depart­ment (ESD) for workers experi­encing job loss or reduc­tion of hours. Both programs existed before the pandemic but both programs have been augmented with federal dollars to respond to the current economic crisis.

Are these programs different than a furlough.” Yes. The term furlough” does not have a legal meaning. Standby unemploy­ment and Shared­Work are specific programs with defined parame­ters.

How does Standby Unemploy­ment work? A worker who has experi­enced a tempo­rary layoff from a job may be eligible for standby unemploy­ment. A worker on standby unemploy­ment does not have to look for new employ­ment in order to remain eligible for benefits. However, the worker must remain avail­able to go back to work when the employer calls. Under our MOU, the hospital will not cash out your annual leave hours and annual leave and sick pay will remain avail­able upon return. Also, the hospital will keep you on its insur­ance plan and continue making contri­bu­tions to your retire­ment account.

How does Shared­Work work? Under Shared­Work, a worker can reduce hours by as little as 10% and as much as 50%. A worker on Shared­Work is eligible for a prorated portion of unemploy­ment benefits. Under tradi­tional unemploy­ment, a nurse who experi­ences a reduc­tion of hours may not qualify for benefits. Under our MOU, the hospital will continue your insur­ance and retire­ment plans. The hospital must apply to the ESD for admis­sion to the Shared­Work program. We are encour­aging the hospital to move as quickly as possible to submit its appli­ca­tion.

Can I be forced into either program? No. The MOU only allows for volun­tary partic­i­pa­tion in either standby unemploy­ment or Shared­Work. It will be up to you to deter­mine if either programs is right for you and your family.

Am I guaran­teed to receive unemploy­ment benefits under either program? No. Both programs are admin­is­tered by the ESD and neither WSNA nor SCH can guarantee your eligi­bility for benefits. We can tell you that these programs are being widely used by workers in Washington including many nurses and health care workers. The ESD is working hard to get people quali­fied. While there have been some delays due to the high volume of use, we have not received reports of denials.

How do I apply for benefits? You will submit an appli­ca­tion to the ESD at: https://​secure​.esd​.wa​.gov/home/.

What do I do if I would like to partic­i­pate in the standby unemploy­ment or shared leave program? Please contact your manager for details. At this time, the hospital is working on opera­tional­izing the process, however, that work should be completed next week and your manager will have further details.

Where can I find a copy of the MOU? Click on the link below or find it in the documents section of this web page.